Shoreham Wordfest set to bring alive the written word

A festival that brings alive the written word and attracts a host of top authors has been praised by the leader of Adur District Council who urged people to snap up tickets while they can.

Elly Griffiths
Elly Griffiths

Cllr Neil Parkin said Shoreham Wordfest had brought great prestige to the town as well as business in the ten years of its existence and he thanked the local organisers and volunteers who had helped the festival grow to a month-long event that is now on the UK’s cultural map.

The event, this year called Fast Forward, starts on September 24 at venues across Shoreham and the district and on livestream. Adur District Council has helped fund the festival, especially activities among schoolchildren throughout the year including visits and talks from authors.

This year the festival will be launched by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, whose No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books have sold millions around the world.

David Olusoga, the high-profile social commentator and historian, is giving a talk about The Job of a Historian. This event is sold out but Wordfest is aiming to stream it live so people can watch from home.

Other authors featured include William Shaw and Elly Griffiths, Sally Bayley (Girl with Dove, Radio 4 Book of the Week) and Yvonne Bailey-Smith, mother of Zadie Smith, with her first novel.

BBC Radio 6 Music’s Cerys Matthews will be in conversation and the comic poet Murray Lachlan Young will be offering his humorous take on life as well as a family event of Cautionary Tales for Children.

The festival starts on Friday, September 24 with BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions. All free tickets are now taken but tens of thousands will be tuning in.

Cllr Parkin said, ‘This year’s programme really does have something for everyone and I urge anyone to take a look at something over the month even if they’re never been before. You will get a warm welcome so snap up a ticket while you can.

‘Shoreham Wordfest has helped put the town on the cultural map.”

Wordfest’s programme director Rosalind Turner said: “This year’s Fast Forward festival will take place in various venues around our lovely town, and we will also be recording and live-streaming some events.

‘This means that people can participate from home as well if that is their preference. We will ensure good Covid precautions at all our events and look forward to welcoming people back to live performances.’”

Last year’s event was a shortened online version online because of pandemic restrictions. Full details of the programme at